Newspaper Article

January 15, 2022

"Seek the Power to Consistently Follow Jesus"

Last Sunday I told our congregation to ignore the clock in the back of the sanctuary. No, it wasnít because I was planning on preaching a long sermon or because I felt the need to encourage some antsy people to quit focusing on how much time was left before they could head out to lunch. My suggestion had resulted from the fact that the clock was malfunctioning and was showing the wrong time. Throughout the morning I had noticed its inconsistency. It hadnít completely stopped working yet. It ran a while, then the hands stayed in one spot for about an hour, then they started moving normally again. I recognized the sign of the battery running out, but didnít have a replacement on hand. It reminded me that a clock doesnít have to completely shut down in order to be ineffective. If itís inconsistent and just running some of the time, you still canít rely on what it says.

Inconsistency is a fault we should pay attention to as followers of Jesus. Iím not referring to those who have turned away from their faith or who have stopped trying to do Godís will. Iím talking about believers who walk with the Lord at times, but who just as often falter in their attempt to ďkeep on tickingĒ for Jesus. Donít get me wrong, weíre all going to stumble on occasion. However, if we find ourselves consistently being inconsistent, we ought to be concerned. A constant stopping and starting isnít the picture the Bible paints of the spiritual journey of a Christian. Some people like to point to Paulís description in Romans 7 of someoneís struggles and inability to do Godís will as evidence that believers canít help but live life on a spiritual rollercoaster. But if you read through the end of the chapter and into the next one, itís clear that there can be deliverance from such an up-and-down journey. We can and should consistently walk according to the Spirit, which includes consistent obedience and victory over sin in our lives. We are ďmore than conquerorsĒ through Christ.

The problem with the clock in our sanctuary was that its source of power was running low. I would suggest that if weíre suffering from the issue of an inconsistent walk with the Lord, maybe we need to consider the possibility of a lack of power being the cause. Maybe weíve allowed our battery to run low as weíve neglected to keep our connection with the Lord flowing and strong. Or maybe some of us havenít ever fully hooked on to all the power that God has made available to us. Jesus told the disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:8). This power they subsequently received on the Day of Pentecost was not only the power to do miracles and the boldness to witness, but it was also the power to follow Jesus and do His will more consistently. Just look at the difference in the up-and-down life of Peter before Pentecost and his more consistent walk with the Lord after that experience. Those disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, had their hearts purified by faith (see Acts 15:9), and were empowered to live a more godly, Christlike life.

Donít fall prey to the idea that a spiritual rollercoaster is the best you can hope for in life. Or worse, donít use that concept as an excuse for your inconsistent obedience to Godís will. Seek to be filled with the Spirit and to be endued with the power to help keep your clock running faithfully and consistently for the Lord.